Top festival picks
The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival hosts an impressive line up of arts, music, theatre, dance, film, family, writers and comedy events - check out just some of the great line-up below.
- Akakite Mai Itaau - Tell Me A Story: Weaving together real life stories with Māori and Polynesian mythology, an aural experience unlike anything heard before will be created.
- Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged): Benny Marama, Manonpagna Chin and Jonathan Hawthorn take you on a crazy pre-eminent rollercoaster ride through the 16th Century.
- He Piko He Taniwha: A unique opportunity to experience traditional and contemporary Māori performing arts and music.
- Family Fun Day: A range of other free events designed especially to appeal to junior audience members including a Teddy Bear's Picnic and Children's Film Festival.
- Sunset Symphony: Bring a blanket and enjoy a night of wonderful orchestral music, fireworks, and delicious food offerings.
- Grooves in the Garden: Enjoy a lazy, hazy summer Sunday with sweet old school vinyl, over a dozen DJs, a retro market and tasty fare from fabulous food trucks – or bring a picnic.
- Opera at Twilight: Following sell-out concerts in previous years, Opera Brava have put together a new programme of highlights from some of the world’s most loved operas.
- Princess Garden Party: Stunning voices, wonderful music and gorgeous dresses combine in this beautiful concert featuring your favourite princes and princesses from Frozen, Moana, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and more!
- Pirate Toddler Boogie: A pirate themed disco for the young and young at heart.
- Something Childish But Very Natural: Specifically designed for the newly-opened Mansfield Garden, this live multimedia experience comes to life as the world gets dark.
- Some Like It Hot: One of the most hilarious, raucous films ever made. Don’t miss a rare chance to see this classic on an outdoor screen.
- TSB Mansfield Garden Party: A nostalgic day out for lovers of all things vintage. Bring a picnic, dance to the bands, show off your best garb with the fashion competition, or simply soak up the atmosphere.
- Back of the Bus: Come ride on a bus as dancers propel themselves along the aisles and hang from the roof.
- Welcome to the Sticks: Dany Boon wrote, directed and costars in this rousing rural comedy film about a man born and raised on France’s Southern coast who is exiled to the Northern territories.
- Festival Hub: A welcoming spot in the heart of Hamilton Gardens, the place to be in the early evening sunshine. Grab something to eat, have a drink, and catch a range of great live performances every night on the festival hub stage.
- My Life, My Fight: A gripping account of one of New Zealand’s most admired sporting stars, Steven Adams. In this session, Chapman will discuss the process of writing a book about someone she has known since they were teenagers.
- Plus many more...
More great things to see and do
If you are visiting from out of town for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, why not explore the city and region while you are here. With everything from underground adventure and Middle-earth movie magic to wildlife encounters and more - there are plenty of great activities to enjoy.
- Free Attractions: From great walking trails and parks to explore, to spectacular waterfalls and more - explore the region on any budget with the great free attractions on offer.
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves: Visit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms. Grab a Cave combo deal and visit the Ruakuri Cave as well.
- Hobbiton Movie Set: Discover movie magic with a guided tour through the permanent set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
- Hamilton Gardens: Explore the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and discover different civilisations and historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world.
- SKYCITY Hamilton: Check out SKYCITY Hamilton's new Bowl & Social for ten pin bowling, great food and timezone games.
- Watiomo Adventures: Get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline, abseil or black water rafting trip with Waitomo Adventures, or try their newest family friendly tour, the Troll Cave.
- Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari: Discover plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with birdlife and reptiles.
- Hamilton Zoo: Get up close and personal with exotic animals such as Lemur and Rhino with a Eye2Eye encounter at Hamilton Zoo.
- Waikato Museum: With top art, history and interactive kids exhibitions the Waikato Museum is a perfect indoor activity for the entire family.
- Hampton Downs: Challenge friends and family to a few laps of go karting at Hampton Downs and get the blood pumping with a V8 Muscle Car or Supercar experience.
- Zealong Tea Estate: Treat yourself to a high tea overlooking the stunning tea plantation.
- Lake District Adventures: Take a magical glowwom kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, or hire some bikes to explore the Waikato River Trails.
- Raglan Kayak & Paddleboard: Explore Raglan's limestone coast with kayak & paddleboard tours and rentals.
- Raglan Surf School: Learn to surf on Raglan's world famous left-hand surf breaks.
- Good George Brewery: Learn all about the brewing process and their award-winning beers with a Brewery Tour, or enjoy a bite to eat in the dining hall.
- Go Skydive: Get your adrenaline pumping with a skydive from up to 13,000ft, providing stunning views of the Waikato region below.
- Plus much more
From inner city hotels and motels to rural lodges and beachside holiday parks, the region boasts a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes.
- Novotel Tainui Hamilton: (pictured) On the banks of the Waikato River, within a short distance of the Hamilton City section of the Te Awa cycleway, Novotel offers all the creature comforts of a large hotel.
- Distinction Hamilton Hamilton: Boasting 147 rooms and suites, many refurbished in 2017, free unlimited Wi-Fi, restaurant & bar, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool & spa pools.
- Ibis Tainui Hamilton: The hotel presents the only restaurant in the city with breath taking views of the Waikato River - a great place to enjoy unique local flavors
- Ventura Inn & Suites Hamilton: A warm welcome that's worth checking into - Ventura is great value accommodation for a night away.
- Kelly Rd: Contemporary, luxury accommodation including studio units and one/two bedroom apartments located 5 minutes from Cambridge.
Flying to Hamilton?
With daily direct flights from Wellington, Christchurch and more, flying to Hamilton will get you to your Short Escape faster.
- Find Flights: Fly direct to Hamilton airport.
- Hertz Hamilton: Grab a rental car from Hertz Hamilton, located at Hamilton Airport.
- Plus many more options